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Automatic fines as police clamp down on motorists

By Amanda Ferguson

Police officers in Northern Ireland will no longer use discretion but will automatically issue fixed penalty notices for speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone while driving.

The PSNI has advised the Policing Board that these road traffic offences, which may previously have attracted a discretionary disposal, will now instead result in a fixed fine.

As of today, drivers will be told to pay £60 and will be given three penalty points for failing to wear a seatbelt in the car, using a mobile phone while driving and exceeding the speed limit.

A speed awareness course remains an option depending on their eligibility.

So far this year, 54 people have died on Northern Ireland's roads. This compares to 57 road deaths last year and 48 in 2012.

According to fatality breakdown statistics for 2014, the most likely groups to die on the road are drivers, pedestrians and cyclists in that order.

Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin said: "54 people have lost their lives on the roads this year, and the reality is this number is likely to increase before we reach the end of 2014.

"Sadly, most, if not all, of these deaths, could have been prevented. Our approach to road safety has always been twofold: education and enforcement.

"We need to do everything we can to make people understand that their actions can have serious consequences, and we have spent considerable resources, along with our partner agencies, educating people on road safety.

"We will continue to do this, however, we also need to make sure unsafe drivers are held accountable, and at times this will mean an increased focus on enforcement."

ACC Martin stressed that the new guidance was not about "making money. It's about saving lives," he said.

"The increase in deaths on our roads is something we should all be worried about but, more importantly, is something we can all do something about.

"We cannot stress enough the importance of wearing seatbelts, ignoring the mobile phone, and driving within the speed limits and in response to the road conditions."

Further reading

Police to target drivers using mobile phones at the wheel

Police officer faced punishment for 'eating an ice cream as he drove'


Belfast Telegraph


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